Christina Agapakis


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An allergic response starts when proteins meet. Antibodies can recognize the shapes of allergenic proteins, alerting the immune system and starting a cascade of reactions. This series of drawings explores the three dimensional protein shapes of the immunoglobulin epsilon (IgE) antibody and common allergens, including birch and grass pollen, peanuts, cat dander, and dust mites.

The images are not to scale but are drawn at atomic resolution based on the X-ray crystal structure of each protein. The two-dimensional tangle of lines is a projection of the three-dimensional arrangement of the folded protein strand.

1F6A // Immunoglobulin E

1BV1 // Birch Pollen // Bet v 1

2VXQ // Grass Pollen // Phl p 2

2EJN, 4ODD, 3EBK, 1EW3 // Cat, Dog, Cockroach, Horse // Fel d 1, Can f 4, Bla g 4, Equ c 1

3SMH, 3OB4, 3C3V // Peanut // Ara h 1, Ara h 2, Ara h 3

3UV1 // Dust mite // Der f 7